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Should we make DD play this sport?

(25 Posts)
PuddleDeepy Tue 12-Jan-16 19:53:15

DD is 13 and is a natural athlete. Up until very recently she played her chosen sport at county level. But started complaining of feeling very anxious before county matches, crying, feeling sick etc. But once she was actually playing she was fine, and would be on a bit of a high afterwards.

But as she insisted the pre match anxiety was getting worse and worse, we finally allowed her to give up her place in the county squad.

We assumed she'd still be fine playing in the local league and she assured us she would be. But now she's saying she doesn't even want to play at local league level! She's started citing anxiety again but has also admitted that all of her friends have dropped out of the local league, and she doesn't want to train/play with girls she doesn't know well.

She keeps insisting she really doesn't want to play anymore and is 'dreading' it. This week she has suddenly started doing more sport clubs at school, but I think this is a calculated move to persuade us to let her drop out of league training and matchs.

I am suspicious that she will quickly drop out of these sport clubs very soon after we let her stop this other sport.

DH thinks we should insist she keep up the league and training. He strongly believes she should play a team sport and is annoyed that she is putting more importance on her friends, than the sport she is really talented at.

I don't see the point in forcing her to train and play if she won't enjoy it anymore (though I know she'd very happily still be playing if any of her friends still played).

What to do? Help!

Finallyonboard Tue 12-Jan-16 19:55:25

We get one life. If she doesn't like it, I'd let her stop. Life is too short to be unhappy.

usual Tue 12-Jan-16 19:57:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hulababy Tue 12-Jan-16 19:58:22

I wouldn't force her either.

Why does your DH believe a team sport is so essential?

I think it would be a good idea for her to do some form of exercise, to keep her fitness levels up. But it should be something she actually wants to do. What's the point otherwise?

As for the friends being important thing - well, yes - at 13 friends do tend to become pretty important ime.

AuntieStella Tue 12-Jan-16 19:58:43

I think I would feel really keenly that she was giving up potential excellence.

But if she doesn't want to do it, she doesn't.

Can you encourage her to take up a new sport altogether?

PuddleDeepy Tue 12-Jan-16 19:58:51

I know. But she does like the actual sport! It's just that she no longer knows any of the other girls on the team well, and she does get a bit anxious if with people she doesn't know.

PurpleWithRed Tue 12-Jan-16 19:59:10

Put yourself in her place. Something completely voluntary that you used to enjoy now makes you feel anxious and upset. You don't like the people you have to spend time doing it with. Someone else wants you to carry on because you are a bit of a star at it - so they only value you when you are a star and don't care about your happiness?

Either discuss it and do a deal, or let her drop it. Then you can say 'told you so' later on. Try and force her to carry on? Good luck with that one...

neonrainbow Tue 12-Jan-16 19:59:41

That's a lot of pressure on a young girl. Maybe she doesn't want to spend all her time training. She should be allowed to stop. If your DH likes the sport so much he should take it up.

ChipsandGuac Tue 12-Jan-16 19:59:49

My DD was picked for a very competitive team in her favourite sport. She didn't want to do it (mainly due to lack of confidence) but I had a rare Tiger Mom moment and said she had to. If she hates it at the end of the season, she can drop it then but she has to give it a proper try. As it is, she loves it and hasn't looked back.

In your DDs case, it seems like she has given it a go and decided it's not for her. I know it's hard to watch wmtslent go to waste, but is there any way she can take a break from it, just temporarily. Give her the chance to explore loads of other sports? You never know, you may find she misses it and chooses to take it up again.

usual Tue 12-Jan-16 20:02:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gleam Tue 12-Jan-16 20:03:55

I think the key to this is in your first sentence - 'her chosen sport'.

Now she chooses not to do it.

gleam Tue 12-Jan-16 20:04:40

That would be second sentence! grin

AnyFucker Tue 12-Jan-16 20:06:47

She is doing what the vast majority of teenage girls who are good at sport do

Prioritising other things. You may not agree with whether they are a priority but this is not your life, and not your choice.

PuddleDeepy Tue 12-Jan-16 20:07:57

She promises to keep up these extra sports clubs at school. But she also assured us she'd definitely still play in the local league, if we let her drop out of the county squad.

I don't want to set a precedent for her that if something is a slight challenge then she can just drop out and walk away. I am very sympathetic that she can get anxious at times, but I think just allowing her to avoid anything which makes her anxious isn't a good coping strategy.

She is obviously very proud of having played at county level, and only last week included it as a really important personal achievement in a piece of homework she did. She also made a point of wearing her county shirt even when training for the local league. So you'd think it would be good for her self esteem to carry on playing?

CMOTDibbler Tue 12-Jan-16 20:08:50

Agree with her that she has to do some form of exercise everyday, but let her choose what that is. Just because she's good at something, doesn't mean she has to do it - and forcing her will put her off it faster than anything. This way she may go back to it later in life.

stealthsquiggle Tue 12-Jan-16 20:09:03

At 13 it's not all or nothing - or is it? Is this a sport she can keep going at school and possibly pick up again?

It seems to me that if you do force her to continue you could put her off for life - and that lifetime enjoyment of support is surely more important than the short term?

AnyFucker Tue 12-Jan-16 20:11:48

I have a feeling she may be playing on the anxiety so you don't push her in to something she doesn't want to do

Because, clearly, simply saying "I don't want to do it any more" would not be nearly enough for you

PuddleDeepy Tue 12-Jan-16 20:12:41

By the way, she sees her friends all the time. The league training is just an hour per week, with matches every other weekend just during spring and summer.

So it doesn't dominate her social life at all. It's just frustrating because she's very good at it, and enjoys the sport itself. But she only wants to do it if she can do it with friends.

Bubbletree4 Tue 12-Jan-16 20:18:24

This is very common.

If you make her continue, she will likely shun the sport for her entire adult life. And be traumatised by it. The pressure is absolutely terrible and looks set to make her quite seriously unhappy and anxious.

If you allow her to quit now, she will probably happily play the sport for health and fitness as an adult. Or get involved in coaching kids later.

If she doesn't want to do it, that is the decision made. Anyone who really succeeds at sport (I mean makes a living from it) has to make huge sacrifices in their personal life and it is clear that this is very upsetting for your dd. She would have to be dedicated and focussed, not dreading training/matches. On the other hand, to have involvement in a sport at local level, the commitment is lighter and the benefits greater imo.

I would just have a chat with her. Ask her directly that she is sure she won't regret her decision.

Hulababy Tue 12-Jan-16 20:18:48

I don't see the point in forcing her to train and play if she won't enjoy it anymore

From your OP, I agree with this.
Your latter posts seems to contradict what you felt in the OP though.

Will this sport be there in a year or more time if she decided she would like to go back to it?

Is it what she plans to do for her future career?

Or is it supposed to be for fun and exercise because she enjoyed it?

Nicknamegrief Tue 12-Jan-16 20:19:14

Could you negotiate a withdrawal from the sport? For example she plays until the Easter holidays and if she still is anxious and unhappy she can give it up. Sometimes this sort of thing can be a blip and continuing for a while may enable her to get over it and of she doesn't then she can give up, with you knowing she's tried her best.

lljkk Tue 12-Jan-16 20:22:51

Funny enough I took DD (yr9) last night for therapy, anxiety attacks re school exams. She's been better last few weeks since I identified some habits that were triggering it. But the relaxation techniques should help a lot, too.

My thinking is basically deal with the anxiety. This isn't about sport at all.

We can't avoid exams realistically. However, your DD doesn't need do sport at all.

ivykaty44 Tue 12-Jan-16 20:32:49

I would be more concerned about the anxiety and strongly encourage your DD to keep to her side of the bargin - which was stay playing but not at county level. By Easter she will know the rest of the team and they will no longer be strangers.

Sport is very important to teen girls and greatly undervalued and yet has so much to offer.

My own DD has been forced to stop, which has made me realise just how much it had to offer to her health, moods, social life, academic work, self esteem

Lurkedforever1 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:00:24

As long as she does some physical exercise from a health perspective then I think it should be her choice.

I was very good at two sports in my teens, and the one I was best at I really didn't enjoy, either the sport or the social side. Physically I had the ability to go far in it, but even with hindsight once I got beyond a certain level my boredom with it would have hugely hindered me. Not to mention a huge waste of all the fun and achievements I had doing the other sport and socialising that I did instead. I also didn't really get anything from the social side of my 'best' sport. So I quit, and only (reluctantly) did it as Pe in school.

My dd also shares my preferred sport, and while I would be disappointed if she quit because she's had so much pleasure and has the ability to go lots further, assuming she continued to exercise in some way I would let her choose.

mull66 Tue 12-Jan-16 23:58:39

Do not force her. Anxiety is usually founded upon some basis and if she feels uncomfortable to the point of feeling sick that's definitely a sign it's not worth it escpeciaopy as she says she wants to quit outside of the matches.

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